"The Snow Queen"
Friday through Dec. 28
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St., Watertown
$30-$59, 617-923-8487

New Repertory Theater presents the New England premiere of this new rock musical adaptation of the classic Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” which also served as the source material for Disney’s 2013 animated hit “Frozen”. Normal fairy tale gender roles are reversed: our heroine, Gerda, has to save the bewitched dude in distress, Kai.

"Arabian Nights"
Nov.27 through Jan. 3
Central Square Theater
450 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$20-$60, 617-576 9278

The Nora Theater Company and Underground Railway Theater’s annual end-of-the-year production of “The Arabian Nights” has become a reliable respite from holiday overload, whisking audiences away to a fantasy world entirely free from Santa Claus and his tiresome elves. Of course, maybe you’re not looking to escape anything, just to hear these wonderful stories again. That’s fine, too.


Roger Lowenstein
Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
C Space, Tufts Building
290 Congress St., Boston
$36, 617-531-461

Kevin Steinberg, former COO of the World Economic Forum’s U.S. affiliate, will interview author Roger Lowenstein about his book “America’s Bank,” which tells the rarely-recounted but extremely consequential story of the founding of the Federal Reserve system, the Boston branch of which was quite intentionally the site of local Occupy protests in 2011. Admission includes drinks and hors d’ouvres.


Jimmy Dunn
Friday and Saturday
Laugh Boston
425 Summer St., Boston
$15-$35, 617-725-2844

According to his bio, this local comedian started out in Gloucester, working for beer and fried clams — a more New Englandy origin story would be hard to invent, unless he was a Pilgrim/Fisherman/Kennedy or something. Eventually he started getting paid in actual money, scoring several high profile appearances and a role in the short-lived sitcom “The McCarthys.” 

Sister’s Christmas Catechism
Saturday, 7 p.m.
Citi Shubert Theatre
265 Tremont St., Boston
$34-$59, 800-982-2787

If you’ve ever seen an ad for these shows, you might think they’re a bunch of tired old nun jokes, but their creator, Chicago comic Maripat Donovan, approaches her subject with a winking reverence —Sister’s a full-fledged, complex character, and she’s funny on top of it. In this Christmas themed episode, she seeks the destiny of the Magis’ gold.


Sing-A-Long "Mary Poppins"
Friday through Sunday
Regent Theater
7 Medford St., Arlington
$15, 781-646-4849

Admit it: you know you want to come and sing along to “Mary Poppins”. They’ll give you a little goodie back at the door with “interactive props”, and you’re even encouraged to dress up in costume. Consider it the family-friendly equivalent of those midnight “Rocky Horror” showings. But don’t blame us if you tear up when Mary umbrellas away at the end.

"Van Gogh"
Friday, 7 p.m.
Harvard Film Archive
24 Quincy St., Cambridge
$7-$9, 617-495-4700

This 1991 biopic on Vincent Van Gogh by French director Maurice Pialat avoids the temptation to portray the legendary painter as a stereotypical “mad genius,” instead seeking to dig deeper into the introverted heart of the man, in all its uncertain complexity, focusing on his relationships and emotional decline. Spoiler alert: the dude was not very happy.  


Handel's "Messiah"
Friday through Saturday
Symphony Hall
301 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$52-$94, 617-266-3605

What would the Handel and Haydn Society be without its annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah”? Fortunately, we’ll never have to answer that question. The glory of this most famous of the German composer’s works, culminating in the stately hallelujah chorus, ought to melt away any lingering Black Friday headaches, if indeed you dare take that hazardous plunge.

One Child Born: The Music of Laura Nyro
Tuesday through December 10
2 Arrow St., Cambridge
$25-$40, 617-547-8300

Kate Ferber performs in this one-woman show as singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, who scored several hits in the 60’s and 70’s for artists as diverse as the 5th Dimension, Barbara Streisand, Three Dog Night and Peter, Paul and Mary. Her songwriting often displayed a feminist perspective, and she gained a dedicated cult following for her own recordings and performances.

Joe Russo’s Almost Dead
Friday, 8 p.m.
The Paradise
967 Comm. Ave., Boston
$28, 18+, 800-745-3000

It’s a testament to the Grateful Dead’s enduring cult that this tribute band — who, as their name suggests, don’t stick exclusively to Dead covers — can sell out shows themselves. The second of the Almost Dead’s two shows this weekend is already sold out, but you can still grab Friday ticks. It’ll be a mellow cap to the long, strange tryptophan of Thanksgiving.

Night Riots
Sunday, 7:30 p.m.
Middle East Upstairs
472 Mass. Ave., Cambridge
$10-$12, 866-777-8932

If you’re a California band, the conventional wisdom suggests you head to Los Angeles, but Night Riots have remained close to their hometown on the Central Coast, which might be one explanation for their unique style — a theatrical mix of emo-esque melodic sensibility and electronic pop sounds, ready for the dance floor but charged with a punk rock fury.

Jill Scott
Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
Orpheum Theater
1 Hamilton Pl., Boston
$39, 800-745-3000

Critically-acclaimed soul singer-songwriter Jill Scott returned in July with her latest album, simply titled “Woman”— appropriate, given the variety of female characters in her always-interesting lyrics. Combined with her powerful, elastic voice — she’s one of a rare breed who can hit the sixth octave —they’ve made her a force to be reckoned with over the last 15 years.


Jose Mateo’s "The Nutcracker"
Friday through December 6
Cutler Majestic Theater
219 Tremont St., Boston
$20-$75, 617-354-7467

Jose Mateo’s “Nutcracker” returns once again, with all new sets and costumes to boot. It’s also being performed downtown for the first time in more than a decade. Each year, Mateo and company offer a more intimate (and affordable) experience than the grand spectacle of the Boston Ballet, with completely original choreography for Tchaikovsky’s timeless score.


The Trouble with Jellyfish
Through January 2
Le Laboratoire Cambridge 
650 East Kendall St., Cambridge
Free, 617-945-7515

This exhibition by Marc Dion explores the weird world of the jellyfish, a creature so ancient and unusual that it’s almost hard to believe it’s from earth. But it is—in fact, scientists interpret the recent jellyfish population explosion as a troubling sign of ecological crisis. In his show, Dion examines both the cultural and environmental significance of these freaky ocean dwellers. 

Through Sunday
UFORGE Gallery
767 Centre St., Jamaica Plain
Free, 617-553-4480

For the layperson, “abstraction” just means art that doesn’t “look like” anything—pure shapes and colors. In the art world, however, it’s much more than that, and UFORGE Gallery’s assistant director Alex Kittle compiled this show, featuring work from more than two dozen local artists, to convey something of the endless variety of meanings and techniques of abstraction.